Metering Collection System Features FCC Primary-Use License
Sensus Metering will be exhibiting its FlexNet data collection system during the upcoming American Water Works Association event.
Sensus Metering will be exhibiting its FlexNet data collection system during the upcoming American Water Works Association event. The tower-based, radio-frequency, Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system operates on a single-tier network and is is designed to transfer usage data from the meter to the utility offices.
Los Lunas tower with FlexNet infrastructure and WiFi components.
The FlexNet system is comprised of the FlexNet transmitter (end point), the Tower Gateway Base Station (collection device located on the tower), and the Regional Network Interface (backbone of the system located at utility offices).
“FlexNet is a simple, reliable and flexible RF (radio frequency) fixed network utility data collection system, which is designed to increase meter reading efficiency, reduce overhead costs, and enhance customer service,” said Tom Galuska, Sensus’ Marketing Manager for AMI - Water/Gas.
The system offers both two-way and one-way fixed-based monitoring for both urban and rural areas for both pit and non-pit set environments. It also delivers primary-use licensing by the FCC. The license guarantees that Sensus and its customers are the only users on that frequency - meaning there are no competing RF signals and zero interference.
Another advantage provided by the primary use license is the ability to use a higher power transmitter, with two watts of power. The more powerful transmitter enables Sensus to offer a longer transmission range between the meter endpoint and the tower. This greater range helps to minimize the utility network infrastructure and site management costs.
“This high-powered transmission is attractive to our customers,” Galuska said, “because it offers a high level of radio spectrum protection, power and productivity.”
The FlexNet system is designed to be scalable to accommodate growth as a utility expands meter deployments throughout its service territory.
Sensus 520X FlexNet transmitter using patented TouchCoupler technology.
Since introduced to the market, FlexNet has been deployed for major water utility operations in Michigan, Wisconsin, Texas, Florida, California, Tennessee, Maryland, New Jersey, Illinois and Oklahoma.
Water utility customers of Los Lunas, NM, are also getting the system; the utility is migrating its meter reading system from the Sensus TouchRead system to FlexNet.
With about one-half of a 5,200-meter implementation plan in place, Los Lunas water authority officials report that the single-tiered FlexNet architecture in the utility’s 10-square-mile service area is exceeding expectations.
“We first selected the Sensus FlexNet system because it provided the features required to meet our need to streamline our data collection. We are now seeing savings from the minimized infrastructure requirements,” said Greg Wortman, Water / Sewer Supervisor for the Village of Los Lunas.
“And, we’re seeing a positive impact in our customer service program from the hourly reading intervals and leak detection features.”
Los Lunas officials are leveraging a recently installed, citywide WiFi application by co-locating the FlexNet equipment on the same site as the WiFi system. All of the electronics for the FlexNet system and core components for the WiFi network are located in the same building next to the tower. This enables Los Lunas to plug directly into the WiFi backbone and transmit data to the utility office.
Further, the company is benefiting from a streamlined migration path from one system to the next since Los Lunas was already a Sensus TouchRead user. They were able to use the latest Sensus transmitter, the 520X, featuring the patented TouchCoupler technology. The migration from the TouchGun type TouchRead system to the FlexNet fixed-base system is accomplished by simply plugging the existing TouchRead PitLid (TR/PL) sensor into the new, assembled transmitter.
Officials of the Water/Sewer Department at the Village of Los Lunas commit publicly to the mission of providing excellence in quality and service to customers at a minimal cost while protecting the environment and exceeding all quality standards. Officials in this city pride themselves on capturing advanced technology for the benefit of residents. They believe this mission is being implemented by adopting the FlexNet system, and the assets it and Sensus provides to a progressive utility organization such as this.
For more information about the new FlexNet system, visit the company’s web site at www.sensus.com.